The Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, will quarantine citizens of four countries when they arrive in the country, the Health Ministry has disclosed. The affected countries are Italy, France, Germany and China, where the outbreak started from.
In a letter to the embassies of the affected countries, Health Minister Eteni Longondo said travellers from Italy, France, Germany and China with no coronavirus symptoms will be asked to self quarantine for 14 days whiles those with symptoms will be transferred to a government-run isolation facility.
This is part of efforts by the government aimed at prevention and or detection of the virus which has arrived in all regions of Africa except for East Africa as at Friday, March 6.
The closest neighbour of DRC with a confirmed case is Cameroon, where two cases were reported on Friday. South Africa also confirmed its index case on Thursday.
Most of the African countries that have recorded cases are of foreigners, mostly Europeans or persons with travel history of having gone through Europe. Senegal, Togo and Nigeria complete the list of Sub-Saharan African countries with cases. Only Libya has escaped infection in North Africa.
Congo is already battling multiple health crises from Ebola to measles and yellow fever. The last hospitalized Ebola patient was discharged this week as the country counts down to officially being declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization, WHO.
Whiles the WHO has warned against banning of international travel, its communication officer in the Congo said countries had the liberty to impose measures they deemed fit on incoming foreigners.
“Each country is sovereign and can have its policy concerning travellers leaving or coming from countries hard hit by the viral pneumonia,” Eugene Kabambi told the Bloomberg news portal.
Last week, Zimbabwe’s Health Minister announced that the country was going to deport any foreigners that came into the country without the necessary medical clearance from their countries of origin.
Kenya this week also banned all flights from northern Italy as a means to control the outbreak. The ban was relaxed to allow Italian flights to evacuate citizens stranded in parts of Kenya where they usually frequent.